Mobula birostris (Walbaum, 1792)
Giant manta
photo by Marshall, A.

Family:  Mobulidae (Devilrays)
Max. size:  910 cm WD (male/unsexed); max.weight: 3,000 kg; max. reported age: 20 years
Environment:  reef-associated; marine; depth range 0 - 1000 m, oceanodromous
Distribution:  Circumglobal, tropical to temperate: in the Northern Hemisphere, as far north as southern California and Rhode Island on the United States west and east coasts, Mutsu Bay, Aomori, Japan, the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt and the Azores Islands; in the Southern Hemisphere, as far south as Peru, Uruguay, South Africa and New Zealand. In some locations, including Mozambique, it is sympatric with Manta alfredi.
Diagnosis:  A giant ray having an extremely broad head with long head fins, and a terminal mouth; upper surface of disc covered with denticles, and tail usually without a spine (Ref. 5578). Blackish above, sometimes with white shoulder patches; white below, with grey edging on disc (Ref. 5578). Tail whiplike but short (Ref. 7251).
Biology:  Mainly in near-shore waters, near coral and rocky reefs; sometimes found over deep water (Ref. 12951). Reported along productive coastlines with regular upwelling, oceanic island groups and offshore pinnacles and seamounts (Ref. 82755). Penetrates shallow muddy bays and the intertidal and occurs off river mouths (Ref. 9911). Pelagic (Ref. 58302). Occurs singly or in loose aggregations (Ref. 12951). Mainly plankton feeders, but may feed on small and moderate-sized fishes as well (Ref. 9911). Leaps out the water mainly in spring and autumn, possibly as part of mating behavior (Ref. 31742). Easily approached (Ref. 9911). Ovoviviparous (Ref. 6902). Commonly caught by tuna gillnet and harpoon fisheries. Utilized for its gill filter plates (very high value), meat, cartilage and skin (Ref.58048). Liver yields oil and skin used as abrasive (Ref. 6902). World's largest ray (Ref. 37816).
IUCN Red List Status: Endangered (EN); Date assessed: 12 November 2019 (A2bcd+3d) Ref. (130435)
Threat to humans:  harmless

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